• Last updated on November 11, 2022

Overturning its 1921 decision, the Supreme Court held that Congress has the power to regulate primaries whenever state law makes them an integral part of the process for electing candidates to federal office.

The precedent set in Newberry v. United States[case]Newberry v. United States[Newberry v. United States] (1921), which prevented Congress from regulating party primaries, was one of the foundation blocks for the whites-only primaries of the South. The Supreme Court partially overruled Newberry in the Classic case, which involved charges against a Louisiana election commissioner for deliberately changing the ballots in a congressional primary. Speaking for a 5-3 majority, Chief Justice Harlan Fiske StoneStone, Harlan Fiske;Classic, United States v.[Classic, United States v.] ruled that the federal government, based on Article I of the U.S. Constitution, had the right to ensure the integrity of primary elections if they had a clear relationship to the determination of who would be elected to Congress. Classic prepared the way for the landmark case Smith v. Allwright[case]Smith v. Allwright[Smith v. Allwright] (1944).White primaries;Classic, United States v.[Classic, United States v.]

Grovey v. Townsend

Race and discrimination

Smith v. Allwright

State action

White primaries

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